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Harry Harris: US envoy to South Korea shaves off controversial moustache


Harry Harris before and after his visit to the barbershop to have his moustache shaved off

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Harry Harris said he had the moustache shaved off to keep cool during the warm summer months

The US ambassador to South Korea has shaved off his controversial moustache, months after his facial hair sparked a debate about the country’s colonial past.

Harry Harris, a retired navy admiral, had his facial hair removed at a barbershop in the capital Seoul.

He said he did so to keep cool during the summer while wearing a face mask in compliance with Covid-19 rules.

“I feel so much cooler now,” Mr Harris said in a video showing the shave.

Mr Harris’s moustache had drawn criticism for its associations with Japan’s colonisation of South Korea from 1910 to 1945.

  • South Koreans bristle at US ambassador’s moustache

Earlier this year South Korean commentators and politicians said Mr Harris’s facial hair evoked painful memories of the colonial era because it was reminiscent of the moustaches worn by Japan’s governor-generals.

Mr Harris has been ambassador to South Korea since 2018, during a time of strained relations. South Korea is a key military and economic partner.

The US stations 28,500 troops in South Korea as part of a security alliance to deter aggression from North Korea, which invaded the country in 1950.

Mr Harris had previously raised tensions by urging South Korea to spend more on its military and take a different approach to its relations with neighbouring North Korea.

In the context of these disputes, Mr Harris’s moustache – and his Japanese heritage – became more controversial.

In December last year, the Korea Times newspaper said Mr Harris’s moustache “has become associated with the latest US image of being disrespectful and even coercive toward Korea”.

World War Two-era Japanese military leaders such as Hideki Tojo, Sadao Araki and Shunroku Hata all sported Mr Harris’s type of moustache.

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Hideki Tojo, Japan’s prime minister during most of World War Two, sported a moustache

But scholars say the moustache was a common style worn by a number of regional leaders at the time, including Chiang Kai-shek, leader of China’s nationalist government between 1928 and 1949.

Mr Harris, the son of a US Navy officer and a Japanese woman, suggested the criticism of his moustache stemmed from his heritage.

  • South Korea and Japan’s feud explained
  • South Korea hits back at Japan in WW2 dispute

“My moustache, for some reason, has become a point of some fascination here,” Mr Harris said. “I have been criticised in the media here, especially in social media, because of my ethnic background, because I am a Japanese-American.”

Mr Harris, who was clean-shaven for most of his 40-year naval career, told the Korea Times he had decided to grow the moustache to mark his “new life as a diplomat”.

The moustache, he told the paper, would remain unless someone convinced him it was “viewed in a way that hurts our relationship [with South Korea]”.

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Trump’s team dodges virus blame while jobless benefit cuts loom


Giroir, who did allow that turnaround times for tests needed to improve, said states had not claimed all of the money allocated to build up test and tracing networks seen as critical to quelling the pandemic.

But Maryland’s Republican Gov. Larry Hogan told CNN’s Jake Tapper on the same show that Trump’s claims that every governor had what they needed from Washington were false. “That’s not the case here in my state of Maryland, and it’s not what I’m hearing from all of the other governors,” he said.
Last week, Trump gave a qualified endorsement to mask wearing and warned that the pandemic would likely get worse before it got better. But he also tried to distract from the raging epicenter of the pandemic in southern and western states and claimed inaccurately that the US was doing far better than many European countries that mandated longer lockdowns to fight the virus.
Trump launched the new PR push after some aides pleaded with him to show he was taking the virus seriously amid plunging poll numbers. New CNN/SSRS polling in Florida, Arizona and Michigan shows the President trailing his Democratic challenger Joe Biden, a state-of-play that would prove disastrous to Trump’s reelection hopes if it is repeated in November.
View Trump and Biden head-to-head polling
The President tweeted Sunday that he would not now throw out the first pitch in a game at Yankee Stadium next month because he was concentrating on managing the virus crisis. Trump, however, found time to visit his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf resort all weekend and was pictured during a round with NFL great Brett Favre.

As part of its aggressive new strategy, the administration also sought Sunday to leverage a fourth phase pandemic stimulus plan to incentivize people to return to work, even as the virus chalks up daily records in new infections.

The White House and Senate Republicans want to replace a weekly payment of $600 in enhanced federal unemployment benefits to workers who lost jobs during lockdowns with a payment equal to 70% of prior income.

The move would cut the federal benefit for many workers but many Republicans argue that such payments act as a disincentive to return to work. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday she would prefer to keep the benefit, which officially expires at the end of the week, the same. The discord on Capitol Hill, and between the GOP and the White House that has delayed the package, is raising fears laid-off workers could be left high and dry with only more meager state unemployment benefits for support.

Multiple aides told CNN on Sunday night that moving forward on a less expansive version of the $1 trillion plan has become a leading option. Such a package could include unemployment insurance and money for schools that the administration is pushing to open. But Pelosi has warned she is not open to “piecemeal” legislation.

Giroir hits out at testing complaints

In his “State of the Union” interview, Giroir tried to counter widespread reports that testing is inadequate, that the administration has failed to set up a national testing and tracing operation needed to beat the pandemic, and dismissed warnings by academic experts about the volume of testing.

“Let me assure you that we are not going to stop our efforts until testing is exactly where we want it to be, with rapid turnaround times,” Giroir told Tapper while boasting about 54 million tests conducted. That figure is less impressive over the five-month span of the crisis and given that health experts say several million tests a day may be needed to get it under control.

“We’re not going to have 300 million tests per day,” he said, even though no expert has suggested such a volume would be possible or needed. He also claimed that half the tests — those processed in large commercial labs, came back at an average of 4.27 days, a figure he pledged to improve this week.

But Giroir also warned that states had used only $50 million of $10.25 billion allocated to them to hire contact tracers. “There is money there for them to do it,” he insisted. “We are supplying the technical assistance. The money is there. The state plans have to meet requirements.”

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar claimed that states had not used $11 billion in allocated financing for next-generation diagnostics.

“We’re meeting every need they’ve got for supplies, for testing,” Azar said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “But at the end of the day, our governors have to take that initiative and get their public health labs fully up and running even as we improve testing through, say, our commercial labs.”

While the blame gets handed out in Washington, some physicians overwhelmed by a wave of sickness and death say they simply do not have the testing capability they need to beat back the pandemic.

“We’re living it here right now,” said Dr. Pritesh Gandhi, a primary care physician and pediatrician in Austin, Texas, one of the hottest of viral hotspots.

“We have test results that take 12, 13, to even 14 days to return,” Gandhi said on CNN on Saturday, warning that the lack of sufficient testing and a profit motive made it impossible to beef up diagnostics to halt the asymptomatic spread driving the pandemic.

“We can’t scale basic community testing particularly in communities of color, especially where essential workers are working … The government should step in,” Gandhi said.

A cut in benefits, but a $1,200 check

The new stimulus package due to be unveiled Monday after stop-start negotiations between Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the White House would include another round of $1,200 checks payments for many Americans despite failing to renew full weekly unemployment payments.
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on “State of the Union” that the measure would also extend an expiring federal eviction moratorium.

Kudlow said that the unemployment enhancement was meant to keep people at home during lockdowns but was now harming the hopes of economic recovery.

“We have had a flood of inquiries and phone calls and complaints that small stores and businesses and restaurants can’t hire people back.” Kudlow said.

Employers are having trouble hiring. They blame the federal $600 unemployment bump

But his comments, and an exceedingly rosy view of a crisis killing 1,000 Americans a day, raise the possibility that the administration is trying to force people to return before it is safe.

“There are more states that are reopening and doing very well. There are some key states, yes. California and Texas and Florida, right now that are having hot spot difficulties. But it’s nothing like it was last winter,” Kudlow said.

Kudlow spoke the day after Florida, one of the states that enthusiastically embraced Trump’s economic opening push, overtook New York to stand second in total US Covid-19 cases behind California.

When Tapper pointed out that many workers didn’t find it safe to return to work because of the spike in the virus, Kudlow emulated his colleagues and put the blame on states for not doing enough.

“It’s a more optimistic picture than the one you are painting. And I think that we have made great strides. I mean, federal government doesn’t control this. We are leaders, hopefully, in encouraging people to be safe and secure and accept our guidelines. The states are in charge of this. Each state has a different story.”

Kudlow’s comment about guidelines is undermined by Trump’s disregard of state opening suggestions written by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the President’s push for all schools to reopen even as the situation worsens and his refusal until last week to endorse mask wearing.

Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo meanwhile blamed states that are now facing the same kind of coronavirus crisis endured by New Yorkers earlier this year for heeding conservative media commentary that supports Trump’s position on aggressive reopening of the economy.

“Florida listened to the New York Post, Texas listened to the Wall Street Journal, Arizona listened to the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post, that was wrong, that was wrong,” Cuomo told reporters.

“We have a phased modulated reopening, and that is right.”

CNN’s Phil Mattingly and Manu Raju contributed to this story.

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Coronavirus: Spain races to save tourism as cases surge


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Media caption“I know it’s hard for the many people who are on holiday in Spain,” Care Minister Helen Whately said

Spain is fighting to save its embattled tourism industry after the UK government imposed a 14-day quarantine on all arrivals from the country.

Government officials insist the virus is under control and want certain areas to be exempt from the UK self-isolation order, including the Balearic Islands.

About 18 million Britons travelled to Spain in 2019 – about a quarter of all arrivals in the country.

But junior health minister Helen Whately has defended the quarantine.

Ms Whately told the BBC that after all the “sacrifices” made during the lockdown, the UK could not take the risk of going back to a situation of rising virus rates across the country.

Spain’s rate of infection has jumped in recent days.

While the outbreak remains under control in many parts of Spain, certain parts of the country – in particular Catalonia in the north-east and the neighbouring region of Aragón – have seen a huge spike in infections.

  • Spain drives fears of European ‘second wave’
  • UK had to act ‘rapidly’ on Spain quarantine

According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the country recorded 39.4 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the last two weeks.

The UK and neighbouring France both have a figure of 14.6 infections per 100,000 residents.

What’s the latest from Spain?

Local authorities have issued stay-at-home orders for some four million residents in Catalonia, including in the regional capital Barcelona. On Monday, Catalonia’s President Quim Torra said they could impose even stricter lockdown measures if infection numbers do not improve in the next 10 days.

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Catalonia’s leader Quim Torra insists the region remains safe for tourists

“We are facing the 10 most important days of summer,” he said. The region recorded 5,487 infections last week compared to 3,485 the week before, Mr Torra told reporters, adding that the situation was “very critical”.

But Mr Torra also assured people that the region remained safe for tourists. Speaking in English, the regional leader said that “measures had been taken” and people “can visit most of the region safely”.

  • What are the quarantine rules for Spain and its islands?
  • Spain quarantine: ‘We found out three minutes after landing’

Spain imposed one of Europe’s strictest lockdowns in March to tackle the coronavirus pandemic. The tight restrictions helped curb the infection rate, but also severely damaged the economy – in particular the tourism industry.

Tourism accounts for about 11% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), and a huge number of visitors come from the UK.

As a result, the country has been desperate to bring back visitors to help revive struggling towns and resorts.

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Media captionHow Spain prepared to re-open for tourism

On Sunday, Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha González Laya said outbreaks in her country were “perfectly controlled” and that they had been expected once the restrictions were lifted.

Ms González said the Canary and Balearic Islands, which are popular with tourists, have not recorded a resurgence in infections, insisting they were “very safe territories”. She added that the authorities would try to convince the UK government to exclude them from quarantine.

How did the pandemic affect the country?

Spain was hit hard by the global pandemic. Latest figures released on Friday show the country had confirmed 272,421 cases and 28,432 deaths.

There are concerns, however, that the death toll could be far higher. On Sunday, Spanish newspaper El Pais reported that the true toll could be 60% higher than the health ministry’s figures.

  • ‘How we’re surviving a second virus lockdown’
  • Can I still go abroad on holiday this summer?

Nationally, Spain only includes deaths of people who tested positive for the virus.

By including regional figures of those suspected to have Covid-19, El Pais calculated a total of 44,868 deaths.

If confirmed, this would mean Spain has the second-highest death toll in Europe – just behind the UK, which has recorded 45,837 deaths.

Spain’s health ministry has insisted that it has followed international protocols to count deaths.

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Media captionSpain’s king last week led tributes to health workers and Covid-19 victims

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Why Biden is polling better than Clinton against Trump


The two least liked presidential candidates in US history ran against each other in 2016. 2020 is different and it’s all in the polls. CNN’s Harry Enten is here to break it down.

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Black Lives Matter: Arkansas senator describes slavery as ‘necessary evil’


Tom Cotton

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Tom Cotton’s opinion piece for the New York Times caused outrage

A senator for the state of Arkansas has described slavery as a “necessary evil” on which the American nation was built.

In a local newspaper interview, Republican Tom Cotton said he rejected the idea that the US was a systemically racist country to its core.

He is introducing legislation to ban federal funds for a project by the New York Times newspaper, aimed at revising the historical view of slavery.

The project’s founder expressed outrage at the remarks.

This comes amid the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement. The death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, in Minnesota in May sparked huge protests across the US against police brutality and racism.

In recent days the city of Portland has seen nightly clashes, which have escalated since a deeply controversial decision by President Donald Trump to send federal law enforcement to the city.

Senator Cotton has been a strong critic of the nationwide protests, describing them in an opinion piece for the New York Times as an “orgy of violence” and backing Donald Trump’s threat to use troops to quell unrest.

The article was widely criticised and more than 800 employees signed a letter denouncing its publication, saying it contained misinformation.

The newspaper later apologised for it, saying it fell below their editorial standards. Opinion editor James Bennet resigned as a result.

What did Senator Cotton say?

Senator Cotton told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette: “We have to study the history of slavery and its role and impact on the development of our country because otherwise we can’t understand our country.

“As the Founding Fathers said, it was the necessary evil upon which the union was built, but the union was built in a way, as [Abraham] Lincoln said, to put slavery on the course to its ultimate extinction.”

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Media captionPortland protests: Calls for federal troops to leave US city

On Thursday Senator Cotton introduced the Saving American History Act, aimed at stopping funding for 1619, an initiative which bases US history teaching around the first arrivals of slave ships in the US in August of that year.

The project won the Pulitzer prize for commentary for its founder, the New York Times journalist Nicole Hannah-Jones, but it has been criticised by many US conservatives, with Senator Cotton describing it as “left-wing propaganda”.

“The entire premise of the New York Times’ factually, historically flawed 1619 Project… is that America is at root, a systemically racist country to the core and irredeemable,” Senator Cotton said.

“I reject that root and branch. America is a great and noble country founded on the proposition that all mankind is created equal. We have always struggled to live up to that promise, but no country has ever done more to achieve it.”

Responding to Senator Cotton’s legislation, Hannah-Jones tweeted that if slavery was justified as a means to an end, anything else could be too.

Senator Cotton responded, denying that he was justifying slavery and describing Hannah-Jones’ comments as “lies”.

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2020 Election: President Donald Trump faces huge deficit with women voters


Though the United States is rightly focused on the coronavirus pandemic, last week’s events in Washington underscored that two years after women powered the Democrats’ 2018 push to flip the House of Representatives, Trump and some members of his Republican Party have not learned their lesson — and still cannot seem to show that they will treat women as equals and respect the dignity of their work both at home and in the professional realm.
As Trump ramped up his campaign to strike fear in the hearts of White suburban voters by arguing that they will not be safe in Joe Biden’s America this week, he tweeted out an opinion column in the New York Post praising his efforts to get rid of an Obama-era fair housing regulation. In passing, the column’s author, Betsy McCaughey, the former lieutenant governor of New York, argued that women “need to focus on what’s at stake for their families” if Biden is elected.

But in the Thursday afternoon tweet that seemed straight out of the 1950s, Trump said “The Suburban Housewives of America must read this article. Biden will destroy your neighborhood and your American Dream. I will preserve it, and make it even better!”

McCaughey had referenced “women,” not “suburban housewives” (a term that began its slow death when Betty Friedan wrote “The Feminine Mystique” in 1963, helping to spark the women’s rights movement).

In another example of his failure to think about the consequences before he speaks, he wished Ghislaine Maxwell “well” during a Tuesday briefing on the coronavirus even though she faces charges for recruiting, grooming and ultimately sexually abusing minors who were as young as 14 as Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged accomplice.
CNN Polls: Biden leads in three key states Trump won in 2016
Trump’s tone-deaf tweet about suburban housewives was in keeping with his long record of using demeaning language to describe women and his attempt to win the 2018 midterms for his party by stoking a backlash to the #MeToo movement by calling it a “very scary time” for young men.
It also recalled his lengthy history of sexism, and bullying and insulting women who have challenged him, including those who have accused him of sexual assault (which he has denied).

With his gendered and dismissive language, Trump has never figured out how to make up lost ground with female voters since 2016 and 2018. And he now stands to lose them by potentially historic margins in the November election.

The President was trailing Vice President Joe Biden by 25 points among women (35% to Biden’s 60%) in the recent Washington Post-ABC News poll and by 28 points in the mid-July Quinnipiac poll that showed Biden leading Trump among female voters 59% to 31%.
View Trump and Biden head-to-head polling

Those numbers should be particularly alarming to the Trump campaign given that Democrats’ best result among women in a national presidential exit poll was 56% to 43% in 2008, the year that Barack Obama vanquished Arizona Sen. John McCain. Among White women in the latest Washington Post/ABC poll, 50% backed Biden, 46% Trump.

CNN’s Director of Polling and Election Analytics Jennifer Agiesta notes that Democrats have never won a majority of White women according to exit polls dating back to 1972. (Former President Bill Clinton won White women by 48% to 43% in 1996, but the party has never gotten to the 50% threshold or above).

In 2016, Trump carried White women 52% to 43% over Hillary Clinton, a Democrat. Only 4% of Black women voted for Trump, and only 25% of Latinas supported him.
And as CNN’s Harry Enten wrote this weekend, this is not an election where the economy — which Trump has long believed to be his greatest strength — is driving the election.

At this moment when the number of coronavirus cases in the US has surpassed 4.1 million and more than 146,000 Americans have died, polls have consistently shown that Americans, particularly women, are more concerned about Covid-19 than any other issue.

Voters trust Biden more than Trump to handle the pandemic, and largely because of that, the former vice president has maintained a solid lead in the polls, both nationally and in many of the key battleground states that Trump needs to win reelection.

In a fresh round of CNN polling released Sunday, Biden’s advantage in the swing states of Michigan, Arizona, and Florida was largely driven by his edge among women, according to Agiesta.

Trump this week rolled out several initiatives that were aimed at increasing his support among female voters.

At the White House, he turned the microphone over to Charron Powell, the mother of LeGend Taliferro, who told the heartbreaking story of losing her four-year-old son to violence in Kansas City as she helped Trump make the case for the controversial initiative — known as “Operation Legend” — to send federal agents into big cities to tackle violent crime.

Lori Lightfoot, the Democratic mayor of Chicago — where homicides are up 51% from last year, is accepting some federal help from the Trump administration, but she said during a Sunday interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” that her city’s collaboration is a very different situation than that of Portland “where the Trump administration parachuted in these additional federal agents without consulting anybody locally.”

“I’ve drawn a very hard line: we’ll not allow federal troops in our city,” Lightfoot told Tapper when addressing the Trump administration’s new initiative. “We will not tolerate unnamed agents taking people off the street, violating their rights and holding them in custody. That’s not happening here in Chicago. So I have drawn a very, very bright line. I’ve made that very clear to every federal authority that I’ve spoken with and they understand that if they cross that line, we will not hesitate to use every tool at our disposal to stop troops and unwanted agents in our city.”

In another appeal to women during one of his coronavirus briefings, Trump said his administration requested $105 billion to assist school re-openings in the midst of the outbreak and argued that the money should “follow the student so the parents and families are in control of their own decisions.”

How the Republican Party opened itself up to the Trump takeover
But he also undercut his own message by continuing to argue that children must return to school in person — and falsely claiming that children don’t get sick or transmit the virus easily — even though polls show a majority of parents with school-aged children do not feel safe sending them back for in-person instruction.

Despite the administration’s efforts to convince the American people that they are getting the coronavirus pandemic under control and it will be safe for children and parents to return to school and work, Republican Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said Sunday that Trump’s claim that governors have everything they need is not accurate.

Hogan, the chair of the National Governors Association, said his own state is still waiting for more personal protective equipment for nursing homes and argued that the federal government needs to ramp up the nation’s coronavirus testing capabilities as some states see waits of 10 days or more for results.

“That’s something that the federal government has really got to focus on,” Hogan said on “State of the Union.” “Instead, last week the President was talking about cutting funding for testing programs. … Probably the most important thing we can do right now is to identify where the virus is, and together with contact tracing, try to identify the infections and stop it from spreading.”

Earlier on the same program, Adm. Brett Giroir said the administration will not be happy with testing until the turnaround time is 24 hours, but he told Tapper they are “doing everything we can” to achieve that goal.
When the President began his push to reopen schools weeks ago, CNN’s White House team reported that he and his advisers hoped the issue would help him with female voters, many of whom are bearing much of the burden of juggling the homeschooling of their children while working from home. But with alarming spikes in cases around the country, Trump’s pitch has not gone over as planned.
The gendered language of the week, from Trump’s tweet to Florida GOP Rep. Ted Yoho’s verbal attack on Ocasio-Cortez — an incident in which the Florida Republican reportedly called the New York Democrat “disgusting” and a “f**king bitch” within earshot of a reporter from The Hill newspaper — was a reminder that Trump and many of his allies still don’t understand how to talk to women, much less about them.

During a heated exchange, Yoho challenged Ocasio-Cortez over her remarks on unemployment and rising crime in her home state. He denied using the slur against her and made a floor speech that was couched as an apology, but maintained that “no one was accosted, bullied or attacked.”

Ocasio-Cortez, who has accused him of lying, got the better of the tense exchange by delivering a nine-minute floor speech to decry misogyny and the “abusive” language that she said he and colleague, Texas GOP Rep. Roger Williams, used to confront her while she was walking up the east front steps of the Capitol for a vote on Monday afternoon.

In many interviews with female voters of all political persuasions over the past three years, one of the things many of them said they don’t like about Trump is his coarse, sexist language and how he has changed the dialogue in America — convincing his followers and allies that they can say whatever comes to mind, no matter how hurtful or offensive it is.

For Trump and Republican acolytes like Yoho, there are now too many self-inflicted mistakes to count. They are dragging their own party down with them — and no one will be surprised if women once again rise up in November and deliver a victory to the Democrats.

This story has been updated with comments from Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Adm. Brett Giroir and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan.

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Sudan to send more troops to Darfur after deadly attacks


Sudanese refugees in Chad. File photo

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About 300,00 people died and two million were displaced during the conflict in Darfur, the UN says

The Sudanese government is sending more troops to the restive Darfur region, following a spike in violence there.

Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said the forces would protect people during the farming season.

Unidentified gunmen killed more than 60 people in the region on Saturday, and another 20 the day before, the UN said.

Hundreds of thousands of people have died in fighting between government forces and rebels since 2003. Millions have been forced from their homes.

In the latest upsurge, several villages were burned, and markets and shops looted, said the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

“The escalation of violence in different parts of Darfur region is leading to increased displacement, compromising the agricultural season, causing loss of lives and livelihoods and driving growing humanitarian needs,” it said in a statement.

No group has so far said it carried out the attacks.

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Media captionThe BBC’s Mohanad Hashim is one of the first journalists to travel freely in the region in a decade
  • Darfur conflict: A bloody stalemate

Former President Omar al-Bashir, who was overthrown last year, is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged war crimes and genocide in the region.

Last week, the 76-year-old went on trial in Sudan’s capital Khartoum in connection with the 1989 military coup that brought him to power.

He could face the death penalty if found guilty.

  • Omar al-Bashir: Sudan’s ousted president
  • The warlord who may control Sudan’s future

Bashir has already been convicted of corruption.

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Trump 2020 poll: President is behind in a must-win state


The fact that the polls in Florida favor Biden should be one of the biggest warning signs yet for Trump’s fledgling campaign. Yes, we still have 100 days to go, and history does suggest that the gap in Florida could close.

Still, Florida is probably the bellwether state that most meets the definition of “must win” for Trump if he wants to be elected to a second term, and he is losing there.

No Republican has won the presidency without Florida since Calvin Coolidge in 1924.
CNN Polls: Biden leads in three key states Trump won in 2016
View 2020 presidential election polling
Moreover, it’s a state that leans a little bit to the right of the nation. The last time the state voted more Democratic than the nation as a whole in a presidential election was 1976. The fact that Trump is down here by an average of 8 points in high quality live interview polls since June 1 suggests he is down significantly nationally.
Biden, on the other hand, has a clear path to 270 electoral votes without Florida. Biden has held 6 to 12 point leads in polls released this week from Michigan and Pennsylvania. This includes 6 point and 12 point advantages in Michigan from CBS News/YouGov and CNN/SSRS polls respectively released on Sunday. High quality polls from June gave Biden an average 10-point lead in Wisconsin. If Biden adds all of those states to his column plus the 232 electoral votes from the states Hillary Clinton won in 2016, he gets to 278 electoral votes.

Winning Florida gives Biden a lot of backup options given that it’s worth 29 electoral votes. If Biden adds the 29 electoral votes from Florida to the states Clinton took in 2016, he gets 261 electoral votes. Biden would need just 9 electoral votes more to get an electoral college majority. He could add any other state that Trump won in 2016 by 9.0 points or less.

As I noted a few months ago, Florida is geographically and demographically diverse from the Great Lake battleground states. If Biden stumbles in the mostly White Great Lake swing states, he could conceivably hold onto Florida and add on the diverse swing state of Arizona. Biden has consistently been ahead in Arizona, and he was up 4 and 5 points in the latest CNN/SSRS and NBC News/Marist College polls out Sunday.
The polls show Biden is a clear favorite 100 days out from an unprecedented election
Build your own road to 270 electoral votes with CNN’s interactive map
Additionally, Biden could just win one of those Great Lake battleground states and Florida to get to 270 electoral votes. Biden could, for example, add Michigan (16 electoral votes) to his column, and it would be enough. Biden has held the advantage in every single nonpartisan poll in Michigan since early March.
Perhaps as importantly for Democrats, the polling in Florida has generally been accurate at the end of the campaign. There hasn’t been an error like there was in the Great Lakes in 2016. The final Florida polls from CNN have been within 3 points of the outcome in every presidential election since 2008. The same holds true for the gubernatorial and Senate elections in 2018.

With Biden’s polling lead being as wide as it is right now in the Sunshine State, the past accuracy of the final polls suggest he really is ahead right now.

The good news for Trump is that history does indicate how difficult it would be for Biden to win the state by a large margin. The last time a Democrat won the state by more than 6 points was 1948. No candidate from either party has won the state by more than 6 points since 1992.
(That’s an even longer streak for close elections than the infamous bellwether of Ohio. Unlike Florida, Ohio really isn’t a bellwether state anymore as indicated by Trump’s 1-point advantage in a CBS News/YouGov poll out on Sunday. Biden was up 10 points in a national CBS News/YouGov poll also released Sunday.)
Visit CNN’s Election Center for full coverage of the 2020 race

Overall the point is that we shouldn’t be surprised if the margin in Florida closes down the stretch. That’s exactly what happened in the 2018 midterms, when Republican candidates for governor and Senate squeaked out wins by less than a point.

But for now, Florida is emblematic of larger challenges Trump faces. It’s been a state ravaged by the coronavirus, which has almost certainly contributed to Trump’s problems in the state.
As I’ve said many times before, Trump likely can’t win if he doesn’t turn around his low approval ratings on the coronavirus. His approval rating in Florida on the issue is just 42% among registered voters in the latest CNN poll.
Were that to remain the case through Election Day, Biden’s likely the next president.

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Huawei holds summit as global pressure grows


Huawei faces growing pressure on the company as tensions rise between Beijing and the West.

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Chinese technology giant Huawei starts a four-day online event today focussing on how technology can be used in the fight against the coronavirus.

The “Better World Summit” will also explore how to boost the world economy in the wake of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, HSBC has issued a statement defending its cooperation with the US in a case against Huawei.

It came after Chinese state media accused the London-headquartered bank of “setting traps to ensnare” Huawei.

The world’s biggest telecoms equipment maker said the summit will feature talks by technology industry executives and experts from around the world, including Huawei’s rotating chairman Guo Ping as well as South Africa’s telecoms minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams.

The event is being held against the backdrop of growing pressure on the company as tensions rise between Beijing and western governments.

On Friday, an article in China’s official People’s Daily newspaper said HSBC had “framed” Huawei and played a role in the arrest of the company’s finance chief Meng Wanzhou.

The following day HSBC posted a statement on the Chinese social media platform WeChat which said it was not involved in Washington’s decision to investigate Huawei or arrest Ms Meng.

It also said “HSBC has no malice against Huawei, nor has it ‘framed’ Huawei”. In response, another Beijing-controlled newspaper, The Global Times, said: “Chinese observers called HSBC’s statement ‘not persuasive’ at all”.

Meanwhile, the US has been calling on members of the Five Eyes intelligence sharing alliance – which also includes the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – to avoid Huawei kit.

The campaign against Huawei by President Donald Trump’s administration has led to the UK and Australia banning the company from building their 5G networks.

Earlier this month the British government banned the country’s mobile providers from buying new Huawei 5G equipment after the end of this year.

The companies were also told they must remove all of the Chinese firm’s 5G kit from their networks by 2027.

It follows sanctions imposed by the US government, which claims Huawei poses a national security threat – something the company denies.

Also this week a court in Canada will open a hearing into what evidence should be made public in proceedings on whether to extradite Ms Meng to America.

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Senate GOP split with WH over elements of stimulus plan


Senate Republicans and the White House remain at odds over several central components of their next stimulus proposal after a full day of negotiations on Capitol Hill.

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